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2015 NBA Draft Profile: Karl-Anthony Towns


The NCAA Basketball season may be in full swing, but it is never too early to look at the top prospects for the upcoming 2015 NBA Draft. Here is a look at Kentucky Wildcats forward Karl-Anthony Towns.

Nov 14, 2014; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Karl-Anthony Towns (12) before the game against the Grand Canyon Antelopes at Rupp Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Name: Karl-Anthony Towns

School: Kentucky Wildcats

Position: Power Forward/Center

Height: 6’11

Weight: 250 pounds

Synopsis: It is hard to miss Karl-Anthony Towns. His size makes it impossible for people to ignore his presence, but somehow he somehow gets lost in the talented shuffle of the Kentucky Wildcats roster.

As the season has progressed, Towns has averaged 9.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks. At first glance, his stats are usually met with a hard exhale out the nose and an eye roll, but these numbers are deceptive because he only plays 20.4 minutes a game.

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Extrapolate his numbers where he plays a full game and his talent shines. Per 40 minutes, Towns is averaging 17.8 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 4.5 blocks. In fact, he leads Kentucky and is sixth in the nation with .294 win shares per 40 minutes. Though he does not have the minutes to adequately display his talent, he has become a highly sought after forward prospect for NBA teams.

Eye Test: Remember when I said it was hard to miss Karl-Anthony Towns? He stands large at 6’11, 250 pounds and has a 7’3¼” wingspan that he uses with great frequency.

At the Kentucky Pro Day, Towns measured at a lean eight percent body fat. He already has a developed frame that can only improve by going through the strength program available at a Division I university.

Strengths: For all the fanfare that Jahlil Okafor has gotten for being the rare back-to-the-basket player, but Towns has the potential to be just as strong and just as skilled on the low block. He has impressive strength in his upper body to move players around and uses great footwork to get in position to make hook shots in the paint. He is also underrated passing in traffic, often finding cutters on their way to the basket.

He shows great touch around the basket and from the perimeter where he has shown the ability to make open jump shots. From within the three-point line, he is shooting 52.8 percent and has shown potential to stretch his range to the three-point line.

He is great at using his size on offense and defense. He has deceptive athleticism, pairing his height and 9’1” standing reach with a 36½-inch vertical leap to get those 6.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 20.4 minutes.

Weaknesses: When he is engaged, Towns is one of the top five players in the country. However, the fact that scouts have to make that distinction and qualify that statement with “When he is engaged…” is not a great look for Towns.

He can disappear for stretches on offense and is not aggressive looking for his shot at times. Some of that can be attributed Kentucky and their style of sharing the basketball for the good of the team. Anthony Davis was a victim of that.

However, when it came time for Davis to take over, he did it within the confines of the offense. Towns, on the other hand, has deferred to his older teammates like Aaron Harrison and Willie Cauley-Stein in those times where Kentucky needed a basket. He can still greatly affect the game with his rebounding and blocking, but offensively, teams want to see a big man that demands the ball when the game is on the line to make plays for the team.

Defensively, he gets caught upright a lot and his footwork has not translated to smooth movement when sliding his feet. He also has trouble playing the pick-and-roll and hedging on quicker guards, which is an essential coming into the next level.

Projected Draft Position: With a polished offensive game and physical potential, Karl-Anthony Towns has a lot of NBA scouts excited for the instant impact he can potentially make from the post. Even though his lateral quickness needs work, his shot blocking ability is already developed enough for him to not be a liability. Towns should not make it past the top five picks.

Next: 2015 NBA Draft Profile: D'Angelo Russell

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